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Migrants who wait 24 hours on the Greek side of the border line try to breaking through the cordon of Macedonian special police forces to cross in Macedonia near southern city of Gevgelija, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, 21 August 2015.Macedonian special police forces arrived yesterday morning and blocked the illegal border crossing between Macedonia and Greece. They don't give permission to the migrants to pass in Macedonia. Macedonian government has declared emergency situation in the south and north border with Greece and Serbia due to rising number of migrants and fugitives from Syria, Afganistan, Iraq, Pakistan and Somalia. From the beginning of the year to mid-June 2015, nearly 160,000 migrants landed in the southern European countries, mainly Greece and Italy, on their way to wealthier countries in Western and Northern Europe, according to estimates by the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

“For the first time in my life I saw my colleagues – photographers and journalists – crying because of the situation”. Macedonian photographer Georgi Licovski, member of the Association of Journalists of Macedonia (AJM-ZNM), an EFJ affiliate, told TIME magazine he was moved, after spending the day taking pictures at the border from Greece to Macedonia, on Friday 21 August. He added that it was also the first time he has cried while working.

Hundreds of refugees trying to cross the border clashed with police lines, just a day after Macedonia closed the border.

Georgi Licovski said to TIME magazine there were a lot of babies, children and mothers in the crowd, and that many families were split up in the throng that pressed people to the ground. He added, “It was really terrible, really terrible.”

We contacted Georgi Licovski today. He told us: “I would like to add a few words, now that I am a bit calmed down… It’s the absolute truth that two colleague photographers, a journalist and I cried because of the terrible situation. As a professional journalist, I have to say that the policemen were doing their job, not letting anyone cross the border. The refugees were very disturbed after their long trip and 24 hours waiting for permission to enter Macedonia. They tried to break through the police cordon and the police tried to stop them. In that chaos, many of the refugees found themselves on the Macedonian side of the cordon where they realized that missing family members were left on the other side. The crying children were pressed by the refugees pushing into the police cordon. The children’s terrified faces caused our deep emotional response. I hope that our pictures will help the European politicians to become aware of this hard and complicated situation. No children in this world should suffer this kind of trauma.”

(Picture credit: Georgi Licovski, EPA) (Many thanks to Georgi Licovski who kindly granted us the use of his picture)

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